The upcoming season is about two men for the Miami Dolphins. Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill. The last two seasons together they have compiled a 15-17 record and this is the proverbial make it or break it season. The preseason was supposed to give you a glimpse into both gentlemen. Joe Philbin, the newly involved coach, who was putting his players to bed. Ryan Tannehill, the athletic modern quarterback, who was going to set the world on fire in Bill Lazor’s flashy new offense. Well for Philbin’s sake there was not many off the field issues during the offseason, which is a big plus following the debacle that was last year. However, the on the field play was more of the same uninspired lackluster action South Floridians have come too accustomed to. The team may have had fine results at the end of games, but the on the field product looked exactly like what the world remembered from the previous 2 seasons.
The defense under Kevin Coyle did its job, without much excitement, bending but not breaking. The offense is where Philbin and his hand picked offensive coordinator were supposed to make the biggest difference. The starting unit (the group that truly matters) was only able to put together one touchdown drive. Yes 1 touchdown in almost 5 quarters, hmm that seems very similar to the Dolphins we last remembered. The preseason is just a small sample size, one in which no coach wants to truly tip his hand. So maybe Philbin is just being a master poker player along with Lazor, and just keeping all the ingenuity to the kickoff of the regular season. It just seems strange in over a game’s worth of time the new look offense couldn’t muster up multiple touchdown drives.
Ryan Tannehill is the name you keep hearing around South Florida with the greatest questions surrounding him, through three preseason games. He did not play a minute in the fourth game against the Rams. He played around 5 quarters and had average numbers, one good part of his preseason play was the fact he only had one turnover. The problem was the turnover he gave up was deep in the opponent’s territory, as he blindly forced a throw into double coverage. The area that carries the most weight in the case of Miami, and has been lacking so much the last 15 years is touchdowns. The Dolphins have been the home of the field goal, and this preseason was no different. Tannehill was able to lead one tremendous drive, and fell flat into stagnation every other drive. Much like with Philbin, the preseason is a small sample size to see what #17’s true growth is under Bill Lazor. Plus like Joe Philbin, the preseason there is only so many wrinkles that will be put in play during the exhibition season. The play calling won’t be nearly as wide open and creative, as it will be once the regular season commences. However, again like his coach, 5 quarters seems to be enough time to put forth more than 1 end zone score. Ryan Tannehill is still the starter for the Dolphins entering the season. Those calling for Matt Moore to man the starting spot at Qb have gotten ahead of themselves; as much as Moore has looked comfortable thus far, he is still Matt Moore. You know who and what Moore is at this point, a career backup who can save your rear in an emergency situation, but is not by any means a full time starter. This is Tannehill’s year, weapons in the running game and in the passing attack, and an improved offensive line. Plus with Lazor who is an offensive mind people do respect, the blame will fall squarely on Ryan Tannehill if the offense doesn’t jump off the stat sheet this season.
The preseason is just that, the before the season. It is a time to test things, see what players will make the roster, and which players will not. It is a time to be smart and make sure health is maintained. Because of all of this whatever happens in the preseason can only be taken with that clichéd, ‘grain of salt’. However, the preseason is supposed to be a place where patterns and early connections should take place. Those things did not happen for Ryan Tannehill and Joe Philbin. The long ball, which has been an issue since day one for #17, continues to be a concern heading into week 1 against the Patriots. The scoreboard continued to be barren through 4 games of preseason action. All is not lost just yet for Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill, but the warm-up definitely left South Florida feeling strangely cold for this time of the year.